Former BYU Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson got a fresh NFL start last week when he was traded by the New York Jets to the Denver Broncos, but his future isn’t exactly settled.

On Tuesday evening, ESPN’s Jeff Legwold reported that, according to his sources, the Broncos will not pick up the fifth-year option on Wilson’s contract.

What does that mean?

As a first-round draft pick, the deal Wilson signed with the Jets after he was drafted included four years plus a team option for a fifth year. Under league rules, Wilson’s team has to decide before his fourth season whether or not it will pick up that option or let Wilson go to free agency.

The deadline for that decision is Thursday, meaning Wilson is primed to become a free agent after the 2024 season.

The decision comes as essentially a formality and with zero surprise, as the Broncos would have had to pay Wilson a whopping $22.408 million in 2025, Legwold reported.

For some perspective, the Jets were public in desiring that a team would help pay the approximately $5 million due to Wilson for the upcoming season as part of any trade, and multiple outlets reported that the Jets and Broncos will split the cost evenly.

The Broncos’ decision essentially leaves Wilson with the chance to audition in 2024 in hopes of getting a second NFL contract when he becomes a free agent next spring.

It has been well documented that the 24-year-old Wilson, the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, struggled in three years with the Jets. During that time, he completed 566 of 993 pass attempts for 6,293 yards with 23 touchdowns against 25 interceptions.

In getting traded to the Broncos, Wilson was joining a quarterback room that included only Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci, but last Thursday Denver used the 12th overall pick of this year’s draft to take Oregon signal caller Bo Nix, adding him to the competitive mix.

According to, as of Tuesday afternoon 17 of the 32 first-round picks from the 2021 draft have had their options picked up, with two that have been declined and the remaining 13 (including Wilson’s) to be determined.

Among the five quarterbacks taken in the first round in 2021, only Trevor Lawrence of the Jacksonville Jaguars (taken with the first pick, one above Wilson) has had his fifth-year option exercised by his team, while the other four have been traded and will almost surely not have their options picked up.